Warner Bros.’ decision to permanently shelve the “Coyote vs. Acme” movie, despite interest from major streaming platforms, has stirred significant discussion in the entertainment industry. Crediting The Wrap for the scoop, this move by Warner Bros. comes after they previously established a public precedent with the shelving of the “Batgirl” film. This article delves into the “Coyote vs. Acme” situation, contrasts it with other films that have vanished post-festival acclaim, and reflects on whether the attention it’s receiving is warranted solely because of its high-profile nature.
Coyote vs. Acme: The Situation Unfolds
“Coyote vs. Acme,” featuring John Cena alongside the iconic Wile E. Coyote in a hybrid live-action/animated format, is expected to be deleted from existence without ever reaching audiences. Despite offers from Netflix, Amazon, and Paramount, Warner Bros. has decided against selling the film, aiming for a tax write-off, as reported by The Wrap (Paid Wall).
In November, Warner Bros. reversed an initial decision to shelve the movie for a tax write-off, following public outcry. The studio’s high asking price, reportedly between $75 – $80 million — significantly above the $35 – $40 million tax write-off benefit — has hindered any potential deals, even as interested parties submitted substantial offers.
David Zaslav Reportedly Didn’t Watch Coyote vs. Acme
The decision to shelve Coyote vs. Acme at Warner Bros. was made collaboratively by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group CEOs and co-chairpersons Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, Warner Bros. Pictures Animation president Bill Damaschke, and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Interestingly, Zaslav has not seen any version of the movie. De Luca and Abdy only viewed a “director’s cut,” while Damaschke watched a “first audience preview.”
Warner Bros. Discovery has an earnings call scheduled for February 23, 2023. If Coyote vs. Acme has not found a new distributor by this date, it’s believed this move would definitively signal the film’s demise.
The Batgirl Precedent
The situation echoes Warner Bros.’ earlier decision to cancel the “Batgirl” movie, a $90 million project starring Leslie Grace, further highlighting the studio’s willingness to shelve nearly completed films for financial reasons. This move has set a precedent within the industry, raising questions about the fate of other high-investment projects in the face of corporate restructuring and financial considerations.
Reflections on Film’s Fate and Industry Implications
The attention surrounding “Coyote vs. Acme” raises questions about the value and fate of high-profile movies compared to lesser-known films that disappear after festival circuits, despite warm receptions. It prompts a reflection on whether the industry’s focus on financial and high-profile titles overlooks the potential of diverse and innovative storytelling that may not have the backing of a major studio.
As “Coyote vs. Acme” becomes a symbol of what could have been, it’s essential to ponder if the film truly deserves the fanfare it’s receiving or if it’s a case of a high-profile title drawing attention away from equally deserving projects that languish without the spotlight. This scenario underscores the need for a broader discussion on the valuation of movies beyond their immediate commercial prospects, challenging the industry to reconsider how it recognizes and promotes cinematic works.
Tags: Coyote vs. Acme, John Cena, Warner Bros., Netflix, Amazon, Paramount